BBC – Autos – With an asterisk, V12 Vantage S is fastest Aston

16 Sep 2014 | Author: | Comments Off on BBC – Autos – With an asterisk, V12 Vantage S is fastest Aston
Aston Martin V12 Vantage


Four-door ferocity

It’s the new Aston Martin V12 Vantage S, and of key importance for TG is the fact that a) it’s more powerful than ever, and b) it’s louder.

Following on from the Rapide S revealed earlier this year, the new Vantage S replaces the old V12 Vantage, and sports Aston’s new AM28 6-litre V12 engine, producing the same figures as the Vanquish. So you’re looking at 565bhp up from 510bhp 457lb-ft of torque and a top speed of 205mph. The old car did a piffling 183mph; positively pedestrian.

Aston hasn’t revealed the 0-62mph time, but if the heavier Vanquish can do it in 4.1s, expect this car, weighing 1,665kg (3,671lbs), to go a fraction quicker. Aston assures us that outside of the One-77 hypercar, this new Vantage S is the fastest road-going AM offered, which is nice.

That 6-litre gets racing tech, too, including CNC machined combustion chambers and hollow cam shafts. Then there’s the new automated manual transmission (for too long a traditional Aston vulnerability), or “Sportshift III”, a development of the ‘box from the V8 Vantage. We’re promised “motorsport-style paddle shift changes for optimum performance delivery” using technology filtered down from the company’s GT4, GT3 and GTE competition cars.

We’re crossing our fingers here.

Root around the buttons and you’ll find three-stage adaptive damping (normal, sport and track), which in that order increase the level of pain your spine/passenger/dignity will suffer. This system also changes the weight of the power steering too (itself quicker than before), and alongside this adaptive damping sits a proper “sport” mode. Consider pressing this when the admiring swathes of passers-by have swollen: sure, it sharpens the throttle response, gearshift speed and timing, but it makes the exhaust Very, Very Loud.

Aston Martin V12 Vantage

In fact, that exhaust was derived from the One-77, and is much lighter and louder than the outgoing car, itself no shrinking violet (think shrieking violet).

Not much has changed externally; the grille’s design is a deliberate nod to that CC100 Speedster concept, while carbon fibre vanes replace the old aluminium ones, helping maximise airflow. Elsewhere, there’s a set of new 19in ten-spoke lightweight forged alloy wheels, an exterior graphics pack, new seats (with lightweight CF options, naturally), revised stitching and detailing, new leather grades and of course, the myriad of AM options.

Aston chief Dr Bez is rather taken with it, but he would be, wouldn’t he? It is our most extreme Vantage to date, he says. It is our most powerful engine in a beautifully tailored suit.

Elegant, brutal and at the same time easy to control.

With all that yellow, we certainly hope so.

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